nytheatre.com review by Avery Pearson
August 15, 2010
UBA Bounce is a profound compilation of dances examining the relationships in various stages of life and human interconnectedness. Choreographer and dancer Eva Dean puts together an inspired work with influences from water, love, and a ball named UBA. Her initial inspiration came from an image she had while visiting the Fort Greene Park stairs. She imagined hundreds of balls bouncing down the steps and presumably into our hearts. So instinctual was this spark that her work bounced out of her heart via five brilliant dancers and onto the spacious Dixon Place stage in this year's FringeNYC.
With an absolutely beautiful score highlighted by the bolero, cha-cha-cha, TV themes, tango-infused bossa nova, delicate French melodies, and delicious water sounds, we are transported out of a muggy Manhattan night and onto the emblematic bouncing ball of life. The uber-talented UBA dancers then take over with a tremendous mixture of physical strength and generous artistry.
Each dance number is inspired with the use of colorful balls—large and small. Our experience begins with Zoe Schieber standing perched upon a large ball for a mind-boggling and gravity-defying length of time. Her focused posture suspends our disbelief as we are reminded of the fragility of human experience. The theme of interconnectedness is effectively emphasized when, with the simple balance beam of human touch, another dancer assists Schieber. It begs our question: how simple can our lives be made easeful?
As UBA Bounce organically shifts forward, we are very excited to see George Hirsch dance freely on rollerblades with a figure skater's polish—on the ground nonetheless. "Bounce Surfing" is an imaginative piece neatly and efficiently choreographed by Dean. In it, three dancers using several balls give the impression of body wave surfing. Sarah Sadie Newett stands out during this piece with passion and focus while she swimmingly glides across the stage. If you have seen Fuerza Bruta's incredible overhead water diving act, imagine looking down instead of up and you have Dean's "Bounce Surfing." Also of great note is Cristal Albornoz, who is particularly breathtaking with an impressive display as she whips and twirls Maori Poi balls (a string, three feet in length, attached to a softball-sized ball). She is later joined by two other dancers who, in the dark, play with distance and synchronicity in a crowd-pleasing display of instinctual communication.
However, most impressive about UBA Dance is the joy with which the dancers have bonded together on stage. With their effervescent smiles and inspiring gazes at one another, we are moved to tears and joy—their passion and art is infectious. Kudos to Eva Dean who inspires a group of dancers to be one interconnected beautiful unit.
UBA Bounce is great for ages 3 to 93; the kids at the show I saw laughed and giggled, the adults cheered like children themselves. A word of advice: for a great vantage point of the show at Dixon Place, grab a seat upstairs. Come for a connection, stay for the color-changing Poi balls!